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Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors


A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Wild Things, 12-23-07

December 23, 2007 at 02:06 AM

Percent of wild hen pheasants that die for each week of snow cover.

Powerton opener

Contrary to what we reported Friday, Powerton Lake opens to bankfishing starting Monday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The earlier opener is because Powerton will not be open for duck hunting on Christmas Day.

Reader Bob Alley of Pekin e-mailed to inquire whether motorized vehicles “like a moped or scooter” will be allowed. In the past some handicapped anglers with Class 2 permits have been allowed to use motorized vehicles. That is up the discretion of Powerton’s security staff.

Most anglers face an invigorating walk or bike ride to the hot water.

Birding bits

If you enjoy watching birds in Illinois, bookmark if you haven’t already. Matthew Fletcher’s excellent Web site offers a wealth of information about birding in Illinois including pictures, sightings, stories and places to watch birds.

“The bottom line is I enjoy getting out there and sharing my sightings and if I can help create a useful resource for Illinois birders, I will consider I’ve achieved my goal,” he said.

Did you know?

Recreational fishing generates nine times more economic activity in the U.S. than commercial fishing.

Gray fox decline

As recently as 30 years ago, populations of gray foxes and red foxes in Illinois were thought to be similar. But no longer. While neither fox is abundant any longer, gray foxes are much scarcer than their red cousins. Consider that last winter Illinois trappers took just 67 gray foxes compared to 989 red foxes.

Researchers looking into those population declines believe coyotes are a major factor in the gray fox decline, since the two canines are mortal enemies. And the fact that red foxes were quicker to adapt to urban and suburban settings — thereby avoiding conflicts with coyotes — gave them a leg up.

But research continues. Anyone who spots a gray fox is urged to contact either the Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation at (847) 428-6331 or the Southern Illinois University Cooperative Wildlife Research Lab at (618) 536-7766.

Outdoor answers

“Is LaSalle County included in the late-winter deer hunt? I’ve heard it is, yet strangely I couldn’t find it in (last Sunday’s) list. Now I heard if you have a buck tag leftover, it can be used to tag a buck. I don’t believe this. Any information would be appreciated?”

Ken Carey, Oglesby

A:  After the discovery of chronic wasting disease near Seneca, LaSalle County was added to the special CWD hunt that runs Jan. 18-20 — the same weekend as the late-winter antlerless season.

For hunters in LaSalle County, that means permits are even more available. Not only can you use unfilled tags from the firearm, muzzeloader or youth seasons, but you can also buy $5 tags through license vendors.

NOTE CORRECTION TO THE FOLLOWING SENTENCE: But none of those permits allow you to shoot a buck. Both the CWD hunt and the late-winter hunt are antlerless-only affairs.


This ‘n that

While Indiana is adopting an experimental Feb. 1-15 goose season, don’t expect anything similar in Illinois. Federal regulations will not allow such a season in states that shoot more than 20 percent migratory birds from Canada.

... Jim Mountjoy of Galesburg reports the eastern Knox County Christmas Bird Count spotted a record 75 species.

... Due to weather delays, workers are taking a break on the ultralight-led migration of whooping cranes to Florida. Flights will resume Saturday.

... Four-point minimum antler requirements for whitetail bucks will be a topic of discussion at public meetings across Missouri this winter. 


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